Tales of Turf Removal: Part 3

Beverly, a Thornton resident, decided to embark on her very first turf replacement project this year. Even though she ran into a few unforeseen challenges along the way, she is already planning to convert another section of lawn. Beverly’s enthusiasm and love for her new garden is infectious. Learn more about some of the successes and challenges that come with a water-wise landscape transformation!

1. What was your motivation for transforming your landscape?
The #1 motivating reason for transforming my landscape is to cut down on water usage. I know that to have all this grass that requires so much water in a climate that is technically a desert is wasteful, expensive, and simply irresponsible.

2. What was your favorite part of the project?
My favorite part of this project was putting down the mulch. It was the finishing touch, like the icing. It covered up the drip lines and made everything all pretty, and it meant that I was done!

3. What was the most challenging component of the project?
The most challenging component of this project would probably have to be the unexpected tree roots I had to dig, saw, and chop out. There is a green belt next to our property with mature trees and their roots are running into our yard. I was told by a tree expert that it would not harm the trees, but it took a lot longer to complete the project with all of those obstacles to get out of the way first. Plus I also chopped through a major sprinkler line in the process.

4. Do you have any words of advice for someone who is thinking about starting a turf removal project of their own?
If you are thinking of starting a turf removal project I would recommend really thinking through the process of how you plan on removing the turf. My husband and I talked about renting a turf cutter but were told we’d need to also rent a trailer to haul it and it seemed like too much trouble and expense. And besides, it looked like it wasn’t really all that much grass to remove. We’ll just dig it out by hand. It was a lot more work than I thought it would be! But now I think it was the best option because of all those roots. There’s a lot to plan and think through before jumping into a project like this. Also, make sure you are comfortable with how you are going to convert your sprinkling system.

5. Have you learned any DIY tips and tricks that would be useful to future participants?
We were concerned about what we were going to do with all the sod we were digging out. I worked so hard getting the soil healthy and didn’t want to just get rid of it. I ended up finding low areas in my yard where I turned the sod upside down and put mulch on top. Be careful to not put it in areas of your yard that get regular water unless you want grass to grow there. It would also be good to use to build up a berm.

6. What is your favorite part of your new landscape?
My favorite part of my new landscape is the plants. It’s fun to watch them flower and they’ve already filled in so much. It was a lot of work, but definitely worth it. I’m already planning on taking out another section of water-hungry lawn.